Linnell became more extreme in his views and eccentric in his habits. His eccentricity led to rifts with other artists and may account for his failure to be elected to the Royal Academy.
In the mid 1840s Linnell's increasing prosperity enabled him to give up portraiture, and from 1851, when he settled at Redhill, Surrey, he specialised in rural landscapes. His patrons, however, preferred pastorals, which Linnell was able to see as ‘poetical' by giving them religious significance, and his later landscapes – which became increasingly sketchy and repetitive – sold for high prices. His reputation declined after his death, but his work began to be reassessed in the 1970s, with the emphasis being placed on the more inspired, sometimes visionary, early landscapes.
Artist's estate [Journals (1811, 1817–79), unfinished autobiography (1863) and account books]
London, BM, 1976–1–31–6/7 [Landscape and Portrait Sketchbooks, which contain a record of most of his paintings]
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